America’s Sanctuary Cities Are Falling Apart

If it were not so tragic, it would be funny. For years the progressive Left — in the US as well as across the West — has boasted about its willingness to accept people even if they have arrived in America illegally. Read more

The Death of the Great American City

The King of Wall Street has spoken, but the peasants are not listening. Ever since the end of the lockdowns, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, like many of his elite counterparts in cities from New York to Seattle, has been calling for the workers to return to their cubicles and daily commutes. Read more

Woe, the Humanity: How AI Fits into Rising Anti-Humanism

The future of humanity is becoming ever less human. The astounding capabilities of ChatGPT and other forms of artificial intelligence have triggered fears about the coming age of machines leaving little place for human creativity or employment. Even the architects of this brave new world are sounding the alarm. Sam Altman, chairman and CEO of OpenAI, which developed ChatGPT, recently warned that artificial intelligence poses an “existential risk” to humanity and warned Congress that artificial intelligence “can go quite wrong.”

While history is littered with apocalyptic predictions, the new alarms are different because they are taking place amid broad cultural forces that suggest human beings have lost faith in themselves and connections with humanity in general.

The new worldview might best be described as anti-humanism. This notion rejects the idea that human beings are perennially ingenious, socially connected creatures capable of wondrous creations – religious scripture, the plays of Shakespeare, the music of Beethoven, the science of Einstein. Instead, it casts people, society, and human life itself as a problem. Instead of seeing society as a tool to help people to build and flourish, it stresses the need to limit the damage humanity might do.

Many climate change activists, for example, argue that humanity’s extinction could be a net plus for planet earth. State-sanctioned euthanasia, which just a few years ago was considered a radical assault on the sanctity of life, is becoming common practice in many Western countries – available not just to the terminally ill but those who are just tired of living.

All this is taking place as social science research reveals that people are increasingly cutting themselves off from one another. The traditional pillars of community and connection ‒ family, friends, children, church, neighborhood ‒ have been withering, fostering an everyday existence defined for many people by loneliness. The larger notion of human beings as constituting a larger, collective project with some sense of common goal is being replaced by a solipsistic individualism, which negates the classical liberal values of self-determination and personal freedoms in a worldview that nullifies the societies they built.

These trends, which have been studied largely in isolation, could be amplified by the ascendance of artificial intelligence. As humanity wrestles with powerful new technologies, a growing body of research suggests that a more fundamental question may be whether human beings are willing to shape their own legacy in the new world order.

Anti-humanism has a long history – it can be traced back at least to Thomas Malthus, who warned in 1789 that overpopulation was the greatest threat to human prosperity. Although the British economist and cleric was not hostile to humanity and his dark predictions never came true, his claim that people are the problem has provided the cri de coeur for the modern environmental movement. In 1968, the biologist Paul Ehrlich’s best-seller “The Population Bomb,” which expressed horror at the proliferation of people, prophesied that continued surges in population would lead to mass starvation. Ehrlich and his acolytes urged extreme measures to stave off disaster, including adding sterilant to the water supply to prevent human reproduction.

These views have not gone away. The big business-funded Club of Rome report, issued in 1972, embraced an agenda of austerity and retrenchment to stave off population-driven mass starvation and social chaos. Humanity’s ancient effort to create safety and comfort – its commitment to progress and prosperity – was cast as a lethal threat.

Read the rest of this piece at Real Clear Investigations.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Samuel J. Abrams is a professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Homepage photo: cottonbro studio

Kill Off the Old City So New Cities Can Be Born

After decades of self-celebration and relentless media hype, the great “urban renaissance” predicted by the New Urbanists—a vision of cities built by and for the creative class—has come crashing down. Where the smart set once proclaimed that mayors should rule the world or that economic growth would increasingly cluster in a handful of super cities, now even The New York Times bleakly warns of an “urban doom loop.”

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Even Progressive Voters Don’t Like Racial Affirmative Action

As the Supreme Court moves towards its expected affirmative action ruling, a backlash among supporters of racial quotas is already brewing. One magazine, The Nation, suggests that the lawyer pleading the case for Asian American students is serving the cause of “white supremacy”, while top college presidents, interviewed on PBS, predict that any move to curb race quotas would constitute a “disaster.” Some schools are going a step further by exploring how to get around the potential new law — just as corporations, always keen to please the chattering classes, do the same thing.

Affirmative action is not a winning issue for progressives. Indeed, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans, as well as roughly half of African Americans, say that colleges should not factor race and ethnicity into the admissions process. Asian Americans are even more hostile to the idea: one recent national poll found that four in 10 of the group saw affirmative action as “racist” and more than half welcomed a Supreme Court ruling outlawing it.

The fundamental flaw with affirmative action is that it directly contradicts what the Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal defined as “the American creed” — a notion, too often ignored, embracing equal opportunity for all its citizens. But where the early goals of the Civil Rights movement backed this ideal, the new affirmative action regime embraces race-based discrimination as an unadulterated good.

This approach has led to a rise in discriminatory policies against Asian Americans, now the country’s fastest-growing minority. Nowhere is this more evident than via the  “Asian penalty” that comes into effect when applying for college: according to research from Princeton University, students who identify as Asian must score 140 points higher on the SAT than white Americans and 450 points higher than black Americans to have the same chance of admission to private colleges.

Like Jewish people before them, Asian Americans have benefited from the end of racial discrimination and the consequent rise of meritocracy. They have the highest per-capita income, lowest per-capita crime rates and highest rates of college education in the US. But instead of praising this group for transcending racism, affirmative action advocates prefer to attack them. They are now, it appears, the beneficiaries of  “white privilege”, and dismissed as “white-adjacent”.

If the court rules in favour of Asian American students, don’t expect the Biden administration to embrace the decision. Racialism, along with climate change catastrophism, defines the current White House. The real focus, however, should not be on improving the lives of one racial group ahead of another but instead on helping those most in need. Ethnic minorities now constitute over 40% of the US working class and will soon be the majority by 2032. Their economic needs should be prioritised by creating better jobs, improving skills training and reducing crime. That will accomplish far more than helping the slim number of the more well-off minorities getting into the corporate suite or the great halls of Harvard.

This piece first appeared at UnHerd.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Homepage photo: Maxjuh via Wikimedia under CC 4.0 License.

The Greatest Generational Conflict of All

Ever since the phrase “the generation gap” was minted — by a headline writer at Look during the youth rebellion of the Sixties — trouble has been brewing. Today, there are two generational conflicts in play around the world: one within the depopulating wealthy countries, and another within the more fecund, but far poorer, countries of the developing world. Read more

Women Have Won the ‘War Between the Sexes,’ but at What Cost?

The war between the sexes has ended, and rather than a co-operative future that could benefit all, it has turned out to be more like a lopsided win for the female side. After millennia of power struggles based on such things as biology and social function, the role of women in advanced societies has expanded dramatically, which is generally a good thing but has some rarely cited downsides.

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The Future of Cities Series: Conclusion

Over five millennia, cities have demonstrated their essential resiliency. They now are transforming to a pattern based on digital commuting.

The Future of Cities: Next Generation Suburbs

Next generation suburbs can be designed to preserve the environment, and advantage that urban core cities could never achieve.

The Future of Cities: Utah and Salt Lake City Policy Innovations in Homelessness, Poverty, and Healt …

The size of government matters, but so does the nature of what government does — and what people do about homelessness, poverty, and health.